Radio Sandwell News

Youth PCC Paris Brown in calls to quit over tweets

2013-04-07 14:46:18

Paris Brown

A teenager who became Britain's first youth police and crime commissioner (PCC) has apologised for violent, racist and anti-gay remarks on Twitter.

Paris Brown, 17, was appointed to work alongside Kent's Independent PCC Ann Barnes representing young people across the county last week.

Paris said she was "showing off and wildly exaggerating" in the tweets reported in The Mail on Sunday.

Ms Barnes said Paris would "learn quickly from this".

The newspaper also reported Paris boasted about her sex life, drug taking and drinking on her account @vilulabelle on the social networking website.

Her Twitter page has since been removed.

In a statement, Paris said: "I deeply apologise for any offence caused by my use of inappropriate language and for any inference of inappropriate views.

"I am not homophobic, racist or violent and am against the taking of drugs.

"If I'm guilty of anything it's showing off and wildly exaggerating on Twitter and I am very ashamed of myself, but I can't imagine that I'm the only teenager to have done this.

"I have a genuine interest in working with young people as demonstrated by my current work as an apprentice for a local authority helping teenagers in a local community."

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select committee, had said Miss Brown should be removed from the post immediately, the newspaper reported.

Nicholas Rogers, a Conservative councillor in Kent, tweeted: "@AnnBarnesKPCC's plan to throw a teen into a vicious political environment was naive.

"Sad, but Youth PCC should resign and post scrapped."

Judgement question

He tweeted Ms Barnes' youth PCC plan had "gone badly wrong, throwing her judgement into question and damaging a young persons's future".

In another tweet, he added: "Naive to throw a teen into robust political environment. Youth PCC nice bit of PR but ended in tears."

In a statement, Ms Barnes said: 'I absolutely do not condone the content and language of Paris' tweets.

"I suspect that many young people go through a phase during which they make silly, often offensive comments and show off on Facebook and Twitter.


Anne Barnes

"I think that if everyone's future was determined by what they wrote on social networking sites between the ages of 14 and 16 we'd live in a very odd world.

"I also suspect that thousands of parents would be at best surprised and at worst deeply shocked and ashamed if they looked into the social networking of their children."

"Many will say that Paris has simply been through a phase, however unfortunate, that many teenagers go through.

"Thousands of people have already seen and heard this young lady articulate her ideas and been impressed by her maturity and her commitment during challenging interviews on the national and local media before this story broke.

"This is a very difficult time for her personally, but she will learn quickly from this and rapidly mature into the confident young person we are already seeing," she added.

'Important responsibility'

Mr Vaz said: "I am glad that Commissioner Barnes is not condoning some of the comments that have been made, which I think many people will find deeply offensive and will question whether or not they are compatible with the very important responsibilities that anyone who is appointed by one of the new commissioners will have to discharge."

The appointment of a youth PCC was one of Ms Barnes's main manifesto pledges in the campaign ahead of her election as Kent's first PCC in November.

She said the youth PCC would receive £15,000 for the year, part-funded from her own £85,000 salary.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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